Noticing the Tax Man (08-04-22)
After Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain in the north of Israel, he set his face to go to Jerusalem, in the south, where he knew he would be arrested, tried and crucified. And yet, on that momentous journey, followed at times by crowds of people, he had time for the individual.
Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-6
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
At a show or a concert, when the entertainer asks for help from someone in the audience, there are always those eager to get in the limelight, and there are others who would hate nothing more than to come out to the front. Jesus encountered both of these types of people in his ministry.
Jesus is now on the last leg of his journey, passing through Jericho, with just fifteen miles to go to reach Jerusalem. Again there are crowds of people eager to meet him and again there is an individual he wants to meet. This individual, though, doesn’t stand out from the crowd like the lepers of the blind beggar did. Far from it, the ‘vertically challenged’ Zacchaeus is hidden in a tree. He can see Jesus, but he thinks Jesus can’t see him. But he was wrong. Not only did Jesus see where Zacchaeus was, he also knew his name.
We can often feel alone in a crowd or that we don’t really belong in a community. I’m sure Zacchaeus felt like that, especially as the local tax collector, living amongst the people he was extorting taxes from.
Sometimes too we can feel small and insignificant and think that God is not interested in us or hasn’t got time for us. And sometimes we just want to stay hidden from God, to observe from a distance, not be seen, and not to get involved.
With Jesus though, you are never just one in a crowd, and you are never insignificant. You are an individual with individual needs that Jesus is only too willing to meet.
You may think we are hidden and unseen by God, but that is not so. God knows your name and he knows you through and through. What is more he wants to spend time with you, you just need to come out from your hiding place and welcome him in.
At every turn of events, at every point of the day, Jesus is always passing by, and he is calling your name. Don’t forget to invite him in and share that time with him.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you give significance to all who feel insignificant.
Keep my heart open to welcoming you every hour of every day.
I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship